Two Steamboat Springs men were arrested this week for their role in multi-state scam which cost victims thousands of dollars. 22-year-old Amar Pinni and 21-year-old Jaswinder Sandhu are accused of using ransomware to scam multiple individuals. Ransomware is a form of malware that renders the victim’s computer inaccessible in some way. Victims are then forced to transfer money to the scammer to regain control of their computer. Financial records indicate that Pinni and Sandhu transferred all the money they secured through the scam out of the country. Tips to protect you from ransomware are available below. Anyone who experiences a ransomware attack should unplug their computer immediately and report the occurrence to local law enforcement and the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Tips to protect yourself:
• Always use antivirus software and a firewall. It’s important to obtain and use antivirus software and firewalls from reputable companies. It’s also important to continually maintain both of these through automatic updates.
• Enable popup blockers. Popups are regularly used to spread malicious software. To avoid accidental clicks on or within popups, it’s best to prevent them from appearing in the first place.
• Always back up the content on your computer. If you back up, verify, and maintain offline copies of your personal and application data, ransomware scams will have limited impact on you. If you are targeted, instead of worrying about paying a ransom to get your data back, you can simply have your system wiped clean and then reload your files.
• Be skeptical. Don’t click on any emails or attachments you don’t recognize, and avoid suspicious websites altogether.